What is a short-term rental?

A short-term residential rental is a rental of all or a portion of your home for periods of less than 30 nights. For a more complete overview, read San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A.

What kind of short-term rentals are legal?

You must be the permanent resident of the unit you wish to rent
To be considered the permanent resident, you must spend at least 275 nights a year in the unit where you host short-term rentals. If you own/rent a multi-unit building, you may only register the specific residential unit in which you reside. Also see: "Ineligible Properties."

You must be registered with the City as a business and as a short-term rental
You may only offer short-term rentals once you have obtained a Business Registration Certificate for your property from the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, and then received a certificate** from the Office of Short-Term Rentals. The certificate number must be posted on all listings advertising a short-term rental. Learn more about becoming a legal short-term rental host.

**You may host short-term rentals if you have a complete application pending review with our Office; currently reside in the dwelling unit (as a permanent resident); and there are also no City complaints pending against the entire property. Please note that our Office cannot require hosting platforms to operate a listing while an application is pending (but please contact us if you run into this issue as we may be able to assist you to start listing in a few days). Also, please note that if you are a renter, our Office cannot require the property owner to allow your short-term rental activity in the event that private leases, or other private agreements prohibit such activity.

You may only rent 90 unhosted nights per year
"Unhosted rentals" occur when you are not present in your unit during your guests' stay. Registered hosts may only conduct unhosted short-term rentals for up to 90 nights per calendar year. This is in addition to the core rule that you may only host short-term rentals in the home where you also live at least 275 nights per year.

What are the laws regarding other types of rentals?

Rentals Longer than 30 Nights: Renter Rights and Rent Control
Rentals for more than 30 consecutive nights (by the same visitors) are not subject to short-term rental regulations or subject to hotel (transient occupancy) taxes. Business personal property taxes may still apply (administered by the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder).

In addition, rental/tenant protections and rent control provisions may apply to stays of 30 days or more. The Office of Short-Term Rentals cannot provide advice on tenant protection or rent control rules and laws. Contact the San Francisco Rent Board for more information.

If rentals are offered for more than 30 nights per guest stay (for those dwelling units not authorized to offer short-term rentals by the Office of Short-Term Rentals), ensure that booking calendars and advertisements for all online listings clearly indicate a 30-day minimum stay.

Renting Your Home for Meetings and Events
Some hosts use online platforms to rent out portions of their home for daytime events such as work space usage by individuals booking short time segments; or for ceremonies, conferences or meetings. This type of activity generally violates Planning Code rules if the space being used is intended for residential use.

Short-Term Rentals in Commercial and Industrial Buildings
Short-term rentals may only be hosted in areas that are permitted for residential use. For example, short-term rentals may not be held in a institutional, commercial or industrial building, unless a specific portion of the building is authorized (per the Department of Building Inspection) as a residential dwelling unit. In addition, vehicles (including RVs and Camper Vans) and temporary structures (such as tents, sheds, tree houses, etc.) may not be used for short-term rentals. Short-term rentals can be hosted in residential portions of live-work units; if the host is a permanent resident. However, the short-term rental activity is not considered a qualifying business activity in those specific live-work units where a notice of special restrictions (NSR), recorded on the property, requires a business activity/registration for the "work" area. Also see: "Ineligible Properties."

Frequently Asked Question: What is the basis for the City and County of San Francisco to create regulations for short-term rentals?
The San Francisco Charter references San Francisco’s authority as a charter city to make and enforce all local laws and regulations that are not in conflict with general state laws per the California Constitution. (Cal. Const. Art. XI, Sec. 7.) Link to Charter.

Compliance Information for Hosting Platforms

San Francisco’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 41A) includes certain requirements for hosting platforms offering short-term rental bookings in San Francisco. Specifically, platforms must:

  • Verify that any home offered for short-term rental is lawfully registered with OSTR before the platform may provide, or collect a fee for, booking services for that unit. This registration requirement does not apply to units specifically approved by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) as timeshare units or tourist hotels ("residential hotels" are subject to different DBI rules that vary by property).
  • Submit a monthly affidavit to OSTR affirming that they have exercised reasonable care to verify that hosts utilizing their service are lawfully registered with OSTR.
  • Maintain business records for no less than the prior three years for each of their hosts and short-term rental transactions, and provide this information to OSTR upon request.
  • Please refer to the summary letter and Administrative Guidelines below for further instructions. If platforms fail to comply with these requirements, they may be subject to enforcement action and penalties.

    Summary Letter
    Administrative Guidelines